Friday, July 3, 2015

4th of July

Can you guess the four most common things the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center gets called about every July 4? 

They're fireworks, food, lawn products, and pool chemicals.


They’re pretty to look at and fun to set off. But some pets will eat anything – including fireworks. Pets may also get too close to fireworks being set off or get scared by the loud noise and run away. If you are going to have your pet with you keep her on a leash and watch her carefully. And she should always have a collar with tags and a microchip in case she runs off.

Fireworks are divided into two categories, personal use and professional. Personal fireworks can be purchased by the general public while professional fireworks are restricted. Fireworks generally contain fuel, oxidizers, color producing compounds (often heavy metals), binders and reducing agents.
Chemicals that can be found in fireworks include:
  • Aluminum
  • Antimony
  • Barium
  • Beryllium
  • Calcium
  • Cesium
  • Chlorate
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Lithium
  • Magnesium
  • Nitrates
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Rubidium
  • Strontium
  • Sulfur
  • Titanium
  • Zinc
While fireworks have the potential to cause serious toxicity, most exposures to personal fireworks do not result in life-threatening signs. 

Common concerns with exposure to fireworks include gastrointestinal upset, corrosive injury, dermal burns and possible foreign body obstruction. Heavy metal toxicity is more likely with larger exposures or exposures to professional fireworks.

Pool Chemicals

 Pool chemicals can include chlorine tablets, muriatic acid and brominating tablets. When pets get into products directly or breathe fumes from them there can be problems.Mix chemicals safely and keep pets indoors until products have diluted appropriately in the pool or spa. And always keep a close watch on your pet around a swimming pool!

Exposure to pool products – once they have been diluted appropriately in the pool or spa – is generally not a serious concern. However, it is very different when pets get into the products directly.

Most often there is concern for gastrointestinal signs as well as potential for corrosive injury. Respiratory signs may be a problem if the exposure is in a confined area or the owner has been mixing chemicals inappropriately in a small, enclosed space.

Lawn Products

We all want our yards to look nice, but pet exposure to lawn products is a common problem. 

Keep pets safe with these 4 tips: 
1) Keep pets out of areas where any products are being applied 
2) Make sure you follow all instructions for the product 
3) Keep pets inside until products are dry or no longer prominent – if you’re not sure how long that takes,wait 24 hours 
4) Make sure your pet has access to water so he doesn’t go seeking it in the wrong places

Generally lawn products fall into three categories: herbicides, fertilizers and insecticides.

Casual exposures to yard products generally result in mild and self-limiting gastrointestinal upset. But what you want to watch out for is exposure to agricultural products (especially older ones), larger exposures to insecticides (particularly granular products) or exposures to older or foreign products.

You are more likely to run into a nasty organophosphate or carbamate toxicity with older (particularly agricultural) or foreign products.


Grapes/raisins, onions and garlic, xylitol, macadamia nuts, chocolate, moldy food, avocados, cherry pits, alcohol: Summer festivities include a plethora of foods pets should not get into.

While there is not much new to share in this category, xylitol keeps popping up in unexpected places – the newest one is peanut butter. Make sure to have owners check those labels!

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